“Boat theft is a priority and we will do our endeavor best to curb and reduce the instances of these crimes,” said Superintendent Hilton Cash, new Officer In Charge of Abaco for the Royal Bahamas Police Force regarding the recent boat thefts in Abaco.
Thieves struck again in Abaco, stealing two vessels in one night from boat lifts at a marina and a private home in Marsh Harbour and also attempted to steal a third, but were unsuccessful. Both of the stolen boats were later found – one adrift and the other half-sunk with the engines missing.
Supt. Cash noted that a suspect was charged and remanded to Fox Hill in relation to the thefts, but he said that they are still seeking to bust the ring of boat thieves and are asking for the public’s assistance with any information.
“We thank those persons who have provided information already,” he said. “Together with the help of homeowners and business owners we can reduce the instances of thefts.”
As the Abaco economy depends heavily on tourism, it is feared that the continuing rash of thefts will hurt the industry, scaring visiting boat owners who go there to vacation or spend time at their second homes.
Linda Knowles, co-owner with husband, Craig, of Lighthouse Marina in Hope Town, said the situation has got “completely out of hand”. “It has escalated and it is an absolute concern with our tourist industry out here,” she told a Nassau newspaper.
Mrs. Knowles said the thefts are discouraging and disheartening to everyone, and that it needs more attention from the police and the island’s representatives. “Something has got to be done to get this problem addressed before we start losing tourists,” she warned.
Mrs. Knowles believes that a special Police Task Force should be assigned to conduct investigations into the thefts. “We need more police resources down here. The police need to get together with some people, the marinas and the resorts to try and see if we can come up with a strategic plan, without putting anyone in harm’s way. The civilians can’t take this matter into their own hands.”
Supt. Cash said that while the RBPF is dedicated to bringing boat thefts under control he encourages boat owners and marinas to take every precaution to ensure the safety of their boat. He said that the use of proper lighting and security cameras would reduce an individual’s risk.
“Reduce access and opportunity and there will be a reduction in the occurrence of thefts,” he said.
Supt. Cash also noted that there have been a couple of recent break-ins but said that they were not “significant, though one is too many.” He said that several persons were being questioned by the RBPF and they expect to have some resolution soon.